Exciting New’s

jump inI have some very exciting news to share with everyone. I’ve just began an Author Mentorship program, with a local book publisher, author, speaker and mentor, Ocean Reeve Publishing

I’m so excited to start working with an inspirational creative. It took me a long time to start this and I was umming and ahhing about it for many months, not because I didn’t want to do it but because I was afraid, afraid of failure. What if I’m no good?

I have two young daughters, 1 and 4 so time and funds came into it too. Lets be honest. Money plays a big part in our lives.

I’m a quiet person, so I knew this program would push me out of my comforty comfort zone…but what pushed me into starting the program, was my passion, for writing, it’s what I want to more then anything and I will do what it takes to achieve my dreams and goals. So I will ask questions later, for now I am so confident that taking this step is aligned with my best interests and it will open a door to my dreams coming true.

I’ve recently finished writing a YA Fantasy manuscript, and look forward to publishing it within the year!

So, if something is holding you back today, take time to really question what it is? Whether that be money, time, fear, etc and consider whether, you will allow these constraints to hold you back? Or will you reflect on steps you can take to achieve your goals.

Love Jen xxx

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Guest Writer On Ink and Quill: P.I Barrington

My guest writer today on Ink and Quill, is the very interesting and talented author P.I. Barrington. A lady who won’t stop until she get’s what she wants, and has achieved great publishing success.

NAME: P.I. Barrington

COUNTRY: USA

AGE: 58
Please tell us a little about yourself:

I am one of those people who don’t stop until they get what they want! What I wanted was to work in the music industry & meet Paul McCartney and that’s exactly what I did. I got to be a part of a tiny bit of music history. I also worked as an air talent in radio. That was all before I returned to writing of course!

When did you first start writing?

In grade school—third grade to be exact. They had some huge writing contest and it had to be in First Person POV as the American Flag and we had to write about the care of the flag. I thought it was the silliest thing I ever had to do and then I won. You’d think I’d start writing at that moment but I had other career ideas.

What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?

You know, it’s something that I loved I guess and didn’t realize it until a few years ago. It’s like when I create art, it’s an urge you get to put words on paper and you can’t think of anything else until you satisfy that urge. It’s same with art for me.

I grew up in a time when there were no computers (until I became a newspaper reporter and then they had just been introduced) or fax machines or Internet. So, writing for me was either using pen and paper or one of those old, now historic, type writers! That’s what I did when I could sneak into my uncle’s office and bang away on those keys writing silly little stories.

Of course now I wouldn’t be without the Internet—the speed alone allows me to write books almost back to back! I really don’t have any serious, deep need to be some writer like Hemingway or Steinbeck. I’m writing only because I want to entertain people, to make them feel like they’ve been somewhere along with the characters. I want them to see the settings, feel the emotions, the trauma, the plotlines and action everything in that world.

“My readers are the ones that are the most important and I want them to feel about my books the way I felt about my favorite books. If I’ve done that, I consider myself successful.”

 

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I do have one secret place where I go to feel inspired and develop story ideas and which I will never reveal, lol! But usually it’s a rather simple formula. I’ll start with characters either their names, the way they look, and their personalities. Once I feel I have any one of those things down, I just start writing and place the story there. For the Brede Chronicles, Book One, the first line just kept popping up in my head and the story took off from there.

What are your current projects?

I’m feverishly writing Book Two since I suffered a cardiac arrest last year and was comatose and then in rehab for months. My publisher, First Realm Publishing, are wonderful and have been so patient with me, so every second I get I’m writing. Other, major changes in my life are also happening so I’ve been crazy busy trying to fit it all in as fast as possible. I’ve got three or four other stories I haven’t been able to even think about yet.

Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?

There have been so many it’s hard to just pick one but I think that I started out at age seven with Shakespeare’s MacBeth and then Stephen King and then Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series. Oh, and also Allen Drury’s “A God Against the Gods and Return to Thebes and Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. One line from that book was “the gods only go with you if you put yourself in their path.”

That philosophy got me into the music industry and into radio. This may sound silly but I found another piece of advice that had to be written for me expressly:

“You are in your own way. Stand Aside.”

 

I got that in a Chinese fortune cookie, lol. I do stand in my own way A LOT!

Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?

I hate to say this, but I did self-publish one novel and doubt I’ll ever do it again. I lucked out on cover art that I loved but that whole process was a disaster for me. Besides, I really support smaller independent publishing houses. They gave me my first break and taught me things that an author should know how to do but many don’t because they think they’re going to make billions in royalties.

In fact I recently saw a publishing article that said there are only 40 authors who self publish and make any respectable money but those authors are selling millions of books. In fact I just got into a heated discussion with another author who insisted he self published for that very reason. He sold a lot of books but nothing like those authors who practically have a right to self-publish and worry about keeping their royalties which are in the six to seven digit money makers.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I joined an online writing group and they announced a submission call for a new publisher Desert Breeze Publishing who had just moved to California. I sent an actual script (film) I think and Gail Delaney (EIC) asked me to write up a chapter for her for a new book and I did. It was a three book deal by the time we got through. Her partner Jenifer Ranieri was the cover art designer and let me tell you she has outdone many of the big pub houses.

They are very professional and my trilogy has reverted rights to me which makes me sad in a way and happy in another. I don’t think authors use indie pub houses enough because again, they think they’re going to make millions. DBP taught me about cover art, contracts, etc., and I thank them for that. First Realm is the same way.

Tell us about your writing process:

Well, as I said, I’ll pick out names and then physical description, then personalities or I’ll reverse that order. Once I have those, I’m a pantser all the way. I absolutely love when this happens in my writing: I’ll be writing and put some seemingly unimportant detail (usually to me too) in the beginning and then it becomes a huge pivotal point in the story.
That happened again in The Brede Chronicles and I was thrilled.

I write what I call “Linear” writing and I’ve only met one author who writes like that. Linear writing works one of two ways: Vertical where you open up a document and start writing down the page until you can’t write any longer and then you pick up where you left off. Horizontal writing is like a timeline. Imagine the crease in the middle of a checker board. That’s your timeline and all the black & red squares are your characters that are leap-frogging over each other to get to the end of the story. That’s how I usually write my crime thrillers and sometimes my sci-fi books as well.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

Well, since I started writing I’ve always said that writing should be tight and as concise as possible and people thought I was an egomaniac who thought she knew everything. Then after a year they started saying the same thing as if they’d just come up with it, lol. Why say something in a hundred words when you can say it in fifteen? My work can be gritty but no excessive violence or sex. Writers think they can just stick the F-word and some explicit sex scenes and that makes their work “edgy.” It doesn’t and if they’re struggling to make it work it shows.

The deeper and darker you go with a character that’s when it gets edgy and I’m not talking violence and or insanity either as in horror stories. It has to come from trauma, from the gut so to speak. There’s more to human emotions than madness and if you can harness that and reproduce it in the correct way to make it affect your readers then you have mastered at least one part of your writing style. I think that’s my voice. As far as genre goes, I gravitate toward futuristic, sci-fi, and crime thrillers and I have no idea why. I think it’s because I grew up in the nuclear war era and my entire childhood and young adulthood terrified nuclear war will destroy not only the planet but humanity as well. I try not to go too deep into dystopian but to have a hope for the future. It’s the only way not to become constantly depressed.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you want to be a serious writer, you don’t just one day sit down and write, you study writing until you can easily manipulate it. If you’ve never read a book, and then decided you were a writer, that’s going to show.

“It’s like learning an instrument. There’s practice, practice and more practice to be a master of your instrument and for writers, words and their usage is the instrument.”

 

Like art, learn your craft. If you don’t, readers will. And no one wants that, trust me.

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

This excerpt is a bit of back story and paves the way for Elektra Tate to have some unusual skills to keep her alive. I’d given those skills to her early in the book I had to explain now how she got one of them.

PI

She didn’t know much but she knew when someone was bad. And the man who carried her over his shoulder like a sack of garbage was bad. He scooped her up ignoring her terrified screams and slapping her face until she shut up as he ran through the piles of filth that lined the streets of Garbage City. She tried to resume screaming but her body bumped up and down on him so hard she could barely breathe and concentrated on that for the moment. At last he stopped running and flung her down at the end of an alley where she hit the ground with a lung shattering thump. For a moment everything went dark and when she could see again her clothes were ripped apart and his hands were touching her roughly everywhere. Too terrified to make noise she struggled to no avail and even biting him did not help. When he knelt over her undoing his pants fear gave way to fury and she glimpsed something protruding from one of his pockets. She quieted for a moment and she could smell and feel his rancid breathy laughing over her. She waited for the opportune moment and the grasped the only thing that might come to her rescue.

“You are bad.” She said in a small angry voice. “You are very, very, bad.”
He laughed again until she pointed the gun at his face. He tried to swat it out of her hand but wrath made her aim precise. She pulled the trigger making his hand and arm  snap back and he screamed with pain, staring at the hole in his wrist.
“You little—” He tried to lean over her again but she sat up and pointed the barrel at him again.
“No. You are bad.” She pursed her lips solemnly and aimed for his shoulder.
When he screamed the second time people’s heads appeared in their windows and by the fifth scream many ran into the alley to see what could make a grown man sound like that. None dared approach her as she stood over him gun still in her hand, frowning and breathing hard. He looked at the gathering his face imploring.
“Catch this bitch! Look what she did to me! God damn it don’t let her go! Look what she did!”
No one moved.
“Catch her for God’s sake! She—”
“No!” she cut him off. “He is bad. He tried to do bad things to me. He is bad.” She never took her eyes off him and even took a step toward him. “If you ever do bad again I will do more bad to you.”

He tried to sit up and she shot the ancient cobblestones near his knee. He screamed again and managed to scramble to his feet fast enough to avoid being shot at again. He looked around the crowd with wild eyes until he realized none there would help him. “She’s a crazy little bitch! You’ll be sorry you let her live.” He backed out of the alley never taking his eyes off her and the gun. “You’ll be sorry. You’ll all be sorry! Bitch!” he spat at her feet and then turned and ran.

She faced them all, gun dangling in her hand waiting for reaction. None came. They slowly turned away and went back into their three room apartments silently until no one was left. No one said a word, no one berated her for bad behavior, all turned away silently as if she was a disease not to be discussed openly. At last she stood alone in the full nightfall; building high piles of trash giving off horrific stench as they cooled from the searing daytime heat. She gazed down at the weapon in her hand and knew it was her best friend. She shuffled among the filth until she found a niche carved into a wall and crawled down into it, covering herself with trash and cradling the gun in her arms.

 

Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Adam Dixon

Todays guest writer on Ink & Quill, is Adam Dixon. Adam is the very talented and creative fiction writer at Adam Dixon Fiction. I was thrilled when Adam offered to write a short story, especially for this feature; LIVE A LITTLE.

Please follow the links and show your support to a talented new writer.

adam d
NAME: Adam Dixon

COUNTRY: England, United Kingdom

AGE: 24
Please tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in Carshalton in 1992 and gave grown into a scrawny, bespectacled nerd with a passion for history, literature and all things fantastical. I studied English and History at the University of Sussex and I currently live in Woodingdean, Brighton. It is my ambition to become an author as I have dreamed of writing stories for a living since I was a child. I write short stories in my spare time and I publish them on my blog Adam Dixon Fiction

When did you first start writing?

I first started writing when I was very young, probably around ten years old. Previously, I had had aspirations of becoming an artist, but I quickly came to realise that I preferred the creation of images through words and imagination rather than by brushes and paint.

What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?

Writing provides me with a creative outlet which makes me incredibly happy, and even more so when people respond to my work.

‘The sight of my ink-stained fingers and pages of scribbled words in front of me never fails to satisfy me.’

 

Do you write poetry, short stories and/or novels?

I currently write short stories because I am enjoying the discipline it requires. I am also working on a sci-fi novel which is very much in its early stages, but it is still very exciting! I’d like to try my hand at poetry in the future, but I find the idea extremely daunting, especially since I have discovered such talented poets on WordPress!

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I am constantly reading, (a trait inherited from my mum), and it fosters in me a desire to write my own stories as well as providing a vast source of inspiration to draw from. I also find inspiration from conversations, television programs and real-life events. Anything that can spark an idea in my mind and get the creative ball rolling.

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a couple of short stories for my blog. One is a crime thriller and the other is a supernatural fantasy. As previously mentioned, I am also working on a sci-fi novel. I am also a student with the Writer’s Bureau and am currently enrolled in its Creative Writing Course.

Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?

I am a massive Stephen King fan and his work has inspired the darker side of my writing on several occasions. My favourite books to read are fantasy, and the works of David Gemmell, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini, J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name but a few, constantly inspire me.

Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?

Unfortunately I don’t have any works published yet, but I hope to in the future.

Tell us about your writing process:

In the last year I’ve become a convert to the idea that “writers just write”, and by that I mean that if I want to write something then I have to sit down and write it. I find a slot in my day where I can devote my energy to writing and I put words on to paper. I’ve found that this helps me work through any stagnant ideas I might be having difficulty with and that the spectre of “writer’s block” doesn’t really frighten me anymore.

In terms of my surroundings, I have realised that I can pretty much write anywhere as long as I actually get started. Complete silence unnerves me, so I like to have at least a little bit of background noise, be it the chatter of a café or some instrumental music on Youtube.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I used to think that all I could write was fantasy stories, but since I started my blog I have realised that I can try my hand at a few other genres as well, with some degree of success. In terms of style, I seem to gravitate towards character-driven stories with a twist at the end, more often than not a dark one.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘Keep writing; it is the best way to stay motivated and maintain your creative energy.’

 

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

I’m attaching a short story called ‘Live a Little’ to this email.
I asked Jen during our correspondence whether or not she would like me to write something brand new for this guest post, and she said that she would. The inspiration for this story came to me when I was getting into my Dad’s car we both automatically reached for our seat-belts. A mocking voice in the back of my head suggested that I “live a little” and remain unbuckled in my seat. I didn’t like the sound of this voice and I had no idea where it had come from, but I noted it down in my phone along with what would later end up serving as the final line to this story. I filed the idea away for a few months and decided to complete it for this guest post.

Live a Little

By Adam Dixon

I can still remember the night that I died; it’s seared into my mind like a cattle brand, white-hot and permanent. I can still hear the sound of my own laughter in my ears coupled with the cheers and encouragement of my friends. I can still feel the bitter wind tearing at my hair and clothes as I waved my arms above my head. I can still see the painted lines on the tarmac racing past in a blur of white. I’d never felt so alive, and I’d never been so reckless. It was all their fault.

The party had been a riot. A mutual friend had just joined us in the ranks of the over-25s and we four were still buzzing from it. Jen hadn’t wanted to leave, but Bradley had insisted. He never would back down once he’d got an idea into his head, and Jen never would resist him for long. I’d have happily gone home, myself. If only I’d said something, then maybe all this wouldn’t of happened. But I didn’t, and sometime after midnight myself, Jen and her older brother, Steve, all piled into Bradley’s car and set off down the motorway. We were laughing and joking, singing loudly and badly to whatever was on the radio and passing a bottle of vodka around. The familiar burn in my throat and the rush of alcohol to my head was as exhilarating as ever, and I soon got in the mood to find another party.

But it was then that I noticed how drunk Bradley was. He was blinking rapidly behind the wheel, grinning like an idiot and slurring his words whenever he spoke. He hadn’t seemed that bad before, but then again we hadn’t really been watching him. I’d told Jen to keep an eye on him, damn it! At one point Steve said something which made him laugh and he sent us careening across two lanes! The motorway was deserted, of course, but still…

After a while I asked Bradley to slow down. He wasn’t listening because Jen had her hand on his crotch and was whispering something to him as she caressed him through his jeans. Steve was being a nuisance; he seemed to think that because I was drunk I would be doing the same. I can still feel him nuzzling my neck as one hand clumsily pawed my breasts and the other slid up my skirt…I can still hear the ‘crack!’ as I slapped him, too. Christ, that was satisfying, and it succeeded in finally getting Bradey and Jen’s attention.
“Oi, what the hell are you playin’ at back there?” Bradley thundered, glaring at me via the rear-view mirror. Steve was stunned, rubbing his cheek and staring at the back of Jen’s seat.

“Oh, Lisa’s just bein’ a spoilsport, babe!” Jen mocked, rolling her decorated eyes and flicking her perfect hair. “Looks like she doesn’t wanna have some fun with Steve. Can’t blame her, really, he is an ugly bastard!”
“Oi!” Steve protested, still rubbing his cheek. He wasn’t that ugly, but drunk or not I didn’t appreciate him being so forward.
“C’mon, Lees!” Bradley said, annoyed. I hated it when he called me that! “What’s wrong with old Steve-O, anyway? C’mon, live a little, for fuck’s sake!”
“Shut up, Bradley,” I spat, but secretly I felt bad for hitting Steve. That was the effect that Bradley had on people: he was too bloody good at making you feel like the bad guy.

The next few minutes consisted of Bradley and Jen laughing about how uncool I was and how much of a stick-in-the-mud I could be. I angrily disagreed with them, of course, but it really got under my skin. Steve didn’t say much, he just carried on sitting there looking like a kicked puppy. Maybe it was the drink, but I was suddenly determined to prove them wrong.

“I’m not boring, I can do anything you twats can!” I said after downing another mouthful of liquid fire.
“That so?” Bradley asked, still laughing. “I don’t believe you, Lees. Look, you’ve still got your bleedin’ seat-belt on for a start! Why can’t you live a little?”
“Fine!” I had practically ripped my seat-belt off at that remark. I immediately felt it was a bad idea, but I ignored the thought. Big mistake.
“Oooh, look at the balls on you, babe!” Jen had twisted round in her seat to flash a big, stupid grin at me. I felt like we were back in the school playground. “Betcha won’t do anything else though! Betcha wouldn’t lean out of the window while we’re movin’, would you? Nah, course not, you’re too much of a wimp!”
“Just watch me, bitch!” I said and moved towards my window. I remember clearly the struggle I had unwinding the stupid thing, and the memory comes to me in slow motion.

It’s torture to recall it, to remember how I gripped the cold roof of the car with one arm as I leaned my torso out into the night. I even lifted my leg and rested my thigh on the thin glass so that I was more out of the car than inside. The wind buffeted me and tore a gasp from my lungs as I steadied myself. I remember squealing like a giddy child as I raised first one arm, then both into the air as my soul rejoiced at my freedom.

“You see me now, you arseholes!” I screeched at them, laughing deliriously. “I can fucking do anything!” They were laughing too and even Steve was cheering. It was fantastic. It was fatal. Leaning out of a car travelling at ninety miles per hour driven by an intoxicated monkey in a shirt has consequences. Nobody saw how close to the edge of the railings Bradley had gotten until it was far, far too late.
Now I’m trapped in a lonely existence on this barren stretch of asphalt, doomed to watch speeding cars and fester with impotent rage.
Live a little, they had said….
They all wear their seat-belts now.

Guest Poet On Ink & Quill: Laura. A. Lord

laura a

It is with great pleasure, I introduce you to Ink and Quill’s feature guest, Laura. A. Lord. Laura is a very talented poet and I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about her. Her poetry is incredible, edgy and original. Please, follow the link to check out more of her wonderful writing.

NAME: Laura A. Lord
COUNTRY: United States
AGE: 30

Please tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 30 years old and live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with my husband and three children. I have been writing since I was a teenager, but didn’t start publishing my work until my mid-twenties. I have published six collections of poetry and vignettes and one children’s book.

‘Poetry is by far my favorite form to write and what I spend most of my time on.’

 

In fact, my newest collection set to be released this summer, I Am, in entirely poetry. I’m also an editor for Birth Without Fear and The Reverie Journal (the latter of which is a poetry magazine). You can find out more about my work on my blog,  Laura A Lord

When did you first start writing?
I started writing poetry as a teenager…Really bad, emo poetry. In fact, I have a huge binder full of the poems I wrote back then. I keep it effectively hidden in the hopes that no one will ever be subjected to the horrors inside there.

What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is memories’ music. I am rarely ever able to write about something that is currently happening in my life, but after some time has gone by I am able to reflect on those memories.

‘I think that is what is most important to me about poetry – the ability to be able to freeze those feelings, emotions, and images in something like a poem.’

 

What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
I tend to choose a theme. I think of a specific time in my life or emotion and try to work from that. I also enjoy wordle prompts. I have had great success with those and it is always fun to be challenged to use words you might not have ever chosen yourself.

Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?
Sylvia Plath and Raymond Carver are two of my absolute favorites. I could, and have, read and reread their works again and again for inspiration.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
Certainly. I used to think that poetry had to rhyme and that it needed a dark undertone. I am thankful to keep those hidden in the binder and to have learned to evolve my writing. I rarely rhyme these days, but I think the dark undertone lingers.

Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?
I have terrible carpal tunnel, so pen and paper is almost always out for me. I do keep a notebook in my bag and in my car, just in case, but I tend to use the notebook on my phone to jot down ideas. I write everything exclusively on my desktop, though.

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:
These three poems are from my upcoming book, I Am. The collection focuses on a woman’s view of herself at different points in her life. “Not for Keeps,” for instance, revolves around how I saw myself after learning of my (now ex) boyfriend’s infidelity, while “Brood Mare” stems from the drastic changes I saw in my body after the birth of my last son. “Skeleton Dance” formed a sort-of promise for me, in my effort to be as honest as possible throughout the book, and how it felt to open up so much about my own self-image.

laura

Not for Keeps

I’ve been nursing this blow up
like you’ve nursed that watery beer.
I wanted it big
and loud
and bright –
an explosion of color
in the harsh tones of a Las Vegas wedding.

I wanted my pain to hurt your eyes,
make you blink back a few tears.
I look better a bit hazy.
My angry face is heavily lined –
a child’s drawing,
all thick crayon swipes
and blurred edges.

I wanted my rage to be palpable –
a pulpy glob of orange juice in your mouth
after brushing your teeth.
I wanted you to roll me around on your tongue for a moment.
I wanted you to spit me out.

I’m no good for the long haul.
I’m not for keeps.

I break up like a wave crash,
a grenade with extra shrapnel on the side.
I can make a soap opera look like reality TV.

So come here, baby.
Let me lurk there at the back of your throat,
a taste you can’t get rid of.
I’m the kind of memory that gets closed up in some shoe box
under the bed.
I want to dine on the dust mites there and
listen to all the moments you whisper into her hair.
I want my claws so deep in your back
you still feel them when you’re fucking her.
I want my name engraved in your throat,
your voice box to massage every syllable as it slides
between your gritted teeth,
riding the wake your hips have made.
I want her to hate the plague marks I’ve left behind in you.

I’m such a needy little thing.

Brood Mare

I am a brood mare
with empty feed sack tits.
I’ve lost all sensitivity and
I’m emotionally bloated.

I’m an angry red slash –
The Joker’s mouth,
right above lips that have
stretched open so wide to speak
that they have split themselves sideways.
I’ve been stitched up,
stitched tight, and
I’m still loose.

I’m a pair of crow’s eyes at the corner
of a red-faced, wailing baby’s eyes.

I am lanolin-caked nipples –
I’m just trying to make the pain bearable.

I’m, “My God, I want you,” and
“Don’t touch me. I’m fat.”

I’m a hormonal, demolition derby car,
with no roll cage.
There’s no height requirement for this ride.
I’ve got an ass for days and nights,
sunsets and rises, and
rises,
like high rise to tuck in,
hold back,
control top.
I’m a peep-toe shoe
with thigh high stockings,
in a terry-cloth bathrobe.

I’m fuck-me-in-the-dark beautiful and
a saunter while I walk through the produce aisle.

I have nursed this image
until the well ran dry and
the keloids rose like mountain ranges
through a bush so neglected
it’s become a fanatic feminist icon,
but you’re still banging my crown against the headboard.
So I’m either that kind of desirable
or I’ve got a concussion.

Either way, I was never meant to be a princess.
I was meant to be a brood mare
with empty feed sack tits.

Skeleton Dance

I am ready to spill my skeletons,
open the door to the proverbial closet
and watch them perform an irreverent
skitter-dance across our bedroom carpet.
They will two-step in the moonlight
shining in jagged strips through the
wire screen against our window pane.
They will sing a false swan song
with lipless mouths and bones that
rattle as change in your pockets.
They will twist up on one another,
like a bow around a present,
and I’m giving you this gift,
because it is no longer possible
to keep them in my head.
I am dragging them out from under
the piles of old neglected things
that hinder our ability to speak freely
and humiliate what is left of our love.
I am giving you faceless truths
and praying that the melody of our past
is enough to string us back together.

 

Would you like a free copy of Laura’s book, Rumble Strip?

Sign up to her mailing list here

 

 

Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Amanda Eifert

Amanda

 

 

Today’s feature guest is the talented Amanda Eifert from Mandi Belle. Amanda is a writer of fiction and poetry. Currently working towards publishing her first novel. Please head over to Amanda’s site to read more about her writers journey!

 

Poem: Nonet – Be Brave

By Amanda Eifert

Amaze me, be Brave, fight for you and I,

It’s unacceptable for you,

To say, ” I’m not ready yet.”

What length of time required,

Will cause you to move and,

Man up, be Brave,

Shake the past —

away,

Live.

——

Sizzling skin, fascination that thrills me,

Providing us both with hours which,

Entertain, demonstrate,

Affection and comfort,

Between us lies more,

If only you tried,

To be Brave,

Try, be–

Brave.

 

 

Name: Amanda Eifert
Country: Canada
Age: 30-years-old

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and have lived here all my life. I have a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University of Edmonton. At the age of 23-years-old I was working as an Administrative Assistant for a Commercial Development company when I became ill. Literally, it has taken me a journey of eight-years to come to a point where I can be a bit more independent and take part in more activities in life. I have a mood disorder (depression) and because of that severe fatigue. I am unable to work a traditional job.

I enjoy spending a lot of time writing, reading books, taking classes, blogging, dogs, walking, researching beauty and fashion, watching the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, and watching the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL. I also like to spend time with my wonderful friends and family. I can be contacted @mandibelle16 on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was young. As a girl of ten-years-old I would make up stories and write them in a duo-tang. I wrote prose poetry for a long time as a type of a journal. And I journaled in the traditional sense, in university because I had an English professor tell me in class it would beneficial for our writing if we (her students) wrote everyday. It actually worked.

When I first became ill, I couldn’t read well and writing was even harder so I had to practice those skills and relearn them. Reading came back pretty fast but writing at the level I did in university was a challenge. It is the reason I started my blog http://www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com. I wanted to improve my writing skills and have a place I could write about some of my health issues and other things going on in my life.

What does writing mean to you? Why Do You write?

‘Writing has always been like breathing for me.’

 

Often, I have so many ideas and topics I want to write about but there is only a set amount of hours in the day, and only so much time I have that I can concentrate on writing. I love writing. It is how I express myself most honestly and creatively. Sometimes it is easier for me to “talk” or say what I need to say through writing as opposed to talking out loud.

I write because I have this gigantic need in me to write. Also, I know I still need to improve my writing and keep practicing writing to grow in writing as a career. Now that I have been blogging a few years my writing has improved. My grammar is better (although never perfect) and I have taken creative writing and editing courses through different universities online.

I have also taken many WordPress courses on writing, poetry, blogging, and photography. These courses have helped to grow my writing immensely and to realize that networking in writing is an extremely important aspect of being a writer, as well as having a Social Media presence. I have met so many wonderful bloggers through WordPress courses and various prompts provided by other writers such as Flash Fiction challenges.

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I read a lot and try to stay up on current events, which often inspires me. I would say I’m inwardly motivated and inspired to write.

‘Self-reflection on myself, my experiences in the past and present, happenings in the lives of those close to me, and looking at humanity as a bigger picture of a whole influences my writing.’

 

I also am motivated by poets and writers of the past whom I learned about in University — Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Milton, John Donne, William Wordsworth to name only a few. The prompts for different challenges such as pictures or a word for Flash fiction are inspiring too. As well, I adore fairytales and the meaning behind the true fairytales and folklore. Religion also to some degree is reflected in my writing.

What are your current projects?

I have three goals right now in writing. My first, is to finish a novel I have been writing called ‘How Was Last Night For You?’ It is a romance and supernatural genre book.

To give you a short summary: Nina Gudroe goes to the Martinie Bar under her condo one night and meets the mysterious John Eric. Three unusual and horrible things happen that night. Nina meets John a couple of days later and finds out he was cursed by an ex-girlfriend who was a sea witch to have terrible things happen around him all the time. The relationship between John and Nina escalates quickly and John is able to protect Nina because she is the first woman he has cared about since his ex who cursed him (Tia/Talise.)

Later, Talise decides she wants John back, that he has suffered enough and she will forgive him. This becomes a problem because John is falling hard for Nina. The only way for John to break his curse is for him to love a woman and sacrifice himself for her. Talise will attempt to ensure John does not break his curse and Nina does not remain alive.

The second project I am working on and the third are tied together. I am attempting to get into a Master’s Program at the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing. I need to work on a portfolio for that in two or three areas of creative writing. At the same time, I am trying to get my name out there as a writer and have some of my work published in literary magazines and pretty much anywhere I can find to publish it.

Have you published works, or do you plan on publishing works in the future?

(Mentioned above) I did not say, however, I have been guest publishing on a few other blogs as of late. I also wrote for a young women’s magazine for a year on a variety of topics about three-years-ago. The magazine has since changed sites so my work is no longer available online but I do have copies. I did a couple hundred articles so there were quite a few on topics related to things woman in their late teens or early twenties would enjoy.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I’m still working on completing the first draft and then I will go through some of the constructive criticism other writers have given me on the various chapters and do a second draft. Then, I would like to look into hiring an editor to help me with editing and how things are arranged in the book.

I have never written a book before. This is my first go at it, so I’m hoping to find a great editor who will look at the book overall and then a copy editor. I’m learning as I go, so I’m not quite sure where I will go from there. I know you can self-publish on Amazon, but maybe there are other ways to look at publishing too. I would love to see my book out in actual hardcover or paperback. But right now I need to finish the last quarter of the book’s first draft before I can even think of what is too far ahead.

Tell us about your writing process:

My writing process is something of a developing thing itself for creative writing. If it is a short piece or Flash Fiction I start writing and write until I finish. I begin cutting and editing then. I have learnt to leave only the sentences that matter remain for short fiction. Every sentence has to mean something.

For longer fiction, my book specifically, I learned how to plan the book out from another blogger; The Writing Chimp.  I was stuck for almost a year and a half because I didn’t know how to plan a novel. I was inspired when I read her posts and started writing out all of the characters in my book one at a time. I wrote what they looked like, what the did, what events occurred to them, their past and aspirations.

My main characters were more detailed then my minor characters of course but this simple step gave me material to work with. Then I started writing what happened at the end of the of the book ( in the fourth quarter) with material from my character analysis, and I had already written up my first quarter of the book and my inciting incident. Then, from there I organized the remaining events that I wrote about having happened to my main characters for the second quarter of the book and the third quarter, keeping in mind half-way through the book the main character stops “reacting” and starts “acting” – Nina/John start dealing with their problems the curse and Talise.

Then, I started dividing what happened in each of these quarters into chapters. This has given me an excellent framework to write with. I never realized how much planning is needed for a book. Often, I find myself adding new aspects in and scrapping old aspects. Sometimes what I wanted in each chapter, actually takes me two or three chapters to explain. Sometimes, it only takes a paragraph. I’m learning. Every blog post I can find about writing goes into a folder for reference.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I like to write about people and their relationships. I like to read books that have a love interest so at times I like to write about that. A fellow blogger named Andy told me I needed to make something happen when I write.

He used the example of Lord of The Rings. Frodo has an evil powerful ring and  this isn’t exciting. But Frodo taking the evil ring on a quest to destroy it is exciting. So, it is great to have a happy story but I have learnt that stories need to have action.

Hence, I have learned to like and write thriller stories too with some romance included at times. Scary stories can be fun to write too.

Poetry for me is more personal, even though I currently am exploring different forms of poetry, the topics of poetry tend to be more about what is going on in my life. I also write short non-fiction stories about my personal life as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘You have to start somewhere; if you want to go write, write! Whether that is blogging or journaling , start writing and write everyday.’

 

I think blogging is a fantastic way to go because it exposes you to other writers and their critiques. It is a good idea to get to know other bloggers and writers through writing prompts and courses and to make a point of commenting on people’s work. This opens up doors for you as well by developing a bigger reader base for your blog. The people who follow your blog now might not like a certain piece, but other bloggers out their might enjoy it immensely. It is also essential to get your name out there on Social Media. Twitter is extremely great for this and a Facebook page is worth it once you start to gain followers. Sharing your work on Social Media sites is critical.

 

From the first draft of the book I’m writing:

Chapter 17: Family Dinner and Defeating Talise

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart

Poetry Book Update

With great excitement, the release of my poetry book, is nearing. I have just sent it in, for final review, in 24 hour I will hear back.

I’m so happy with the final product. It looks beautiful and I can’t wait to share it!

Jen xxx

me

To give you an idea about what my poetry book is about:

Ink and Quill Poetry; First Collection, is the much anticipated book of poetry, by Jennifer Calvert. Jennifer explores love in a myriad of different complexities, tying each word, like a string to the heart. Finding beauty in all shades of relationships; love, unrequited and lost. In hope of inspiring, provoking and compelling intricate emotions. Defying the boundaries, exploring the possibilities and opening her work and her heart, to her devoted fans from around the world.

 

Dreams Into Reality

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I say I am stronger than fear. Malala Yousafzai

I’m so frightened of change. I’m stuck, in a rut. I can’t breathe, it’s pulling me down. It hurts my soul. I know I’m destined for bigger things.
I feel like life has so many opportunities out there for me and I have a hundred different scenarios and ideas in my head, but I can’t seem to bring them to life. It appears I’m more of an idea’s person.
How do I bring my ideas into reality? My goals are to become an author, published. That’s what I want. But my busy schedule gets in the way, and I feel like my dream is just been pushed further and further away. I can feel it there, so close, yet it is so far away.
Do I reach out as far as I can and grab it with both hands and hold on to it for dear life? Is that what I have to do to make my dreams become reality?

Writing Is Easy

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Let The Story Be Told

Today I began writing my novel. After months of procrastination and self doubt; on genre, style and story line.

Questioning my story and asking should I start over?

My inspiration has been restored. Thanks to my WordPress friends.

After this mornings post I change my mind so often I exhaust myself. On the writing process and self doubt.

The wonderful advice and tips from my WordPress community blew me away. To know that I’m not alone, and we as writers experience self doubt or times of uncertainty in our writing really helped me to rethink and motivate my writing.

DON’T GIVE UP…

KEEP WRITING…

LET THE STORY BE TOLD…

You guys are amazing! Thank you for your support.

I starting writing my novel again and I’m absolutely loving where its going!

“The cloak unveiled. Underneath the thick material, the beautiful face revealed. Even though the room is dim and her face is shadowed. There is no mistaking the face of her mother.”

(J.Calvert, Chapter 10.)